I was born but not concieved within wedlock. This was back in the 1940s when a single man who "got a woman pregnant" felt that he "had" to marry her if he was free.
I did not discover this until my late teens when I compared my birth certificate (needed for passport) with my parents' marriage certificate. That explained to me why my sister had always been the golden princess. My birth was not planned, and had led to my father have to give up his merry batchelor existence to settle down with a family. By contrast, my sisters' birth was planned.
These were the days when the man was the breadwinner and as an unskilled worker there was little money in our home. Often my parents argued about money. Or rather, about the lack of it. My mother frequently wept that she had only xx shillings left in her purse. She made no attempt to keep our poverty from us as a modern parent would.
As a child I was sent to school with cardboard in the soles of my shoes, until my grandmother bought me a new pair. My school skirts were army surplus from a rag market in the city. Again, my grandmother was forced to intervene and buy me a new school uniform so I would not be laughed at..
When I began work at 16 I spend the first week wearing my school skirt and blouse because I had nothing else. We were paid weekly. A friendly colleague suggested I tell my parents that I had to work a week "in hand" and would not be paid for two weeks. That would give me some money to buy clothes suirable for the office. I kept new things in my mocker and changed when I arrived in work, because my nosy mother checked my wardrobe. She also checked my drawers to see if I was hiding any spare money.
Every pound I tipped up for my "keep" somehow ended up on my sisters back. No rag market skirts or cardboard in the soles for her. She began secondary school with a new set of uniform and white ankle socks with frilly tops.
How I hated those ankle socks!
One day when everyone was out I put the lot in with a bucket with red items. They came out pale pink. I made sure that I did not return until after the issue had been discivered. My mother took the blame for not sorting the washing badly.
What tales do you have? Were you ever the golden child or the black sheep? How did it affect you?
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